November 2017. What Are You Reading Now?
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Right now it seems important to me to gain a better grasp of how a country--any country--could become a closed, isolated autocracy when that's not where they thought they were going.
Author Mary Roach does love to push the bar with her book subjects and I loved her book Gulp which is all about the alimentary canal. In this book, she still is probing an unusual subject, cadavers. She writes all about the physical process of death, what happens to a person’s body after death, funeral customs, donating a body and other topics. I found this very interesting and she is quite funny and informative. This book is not for everyone but if you like unusual subjects this might appeal to you.
>3 Meredy: 'Right now it seems important . . . . ' I see you live in the US. Don't be impatient to get a grasp; just sit back and wait a bit.
Molly Guptill Manning
Who would think a book about the distribution of books to WWII soldiers would be interesting? I certainly didn’t but then I read a review and thought I would give this book a try.
During WWI, there was a book distribution program for the troops but when that war ended the governing body of the program was not disbanded but funding for it ended. When Hitler encouraged the burning of books, librarians were up in arms over the desecration of books and took up the gathering of books to send to the troops and from there it grew until the government and publishers took it over. It certainly was a life saver to the men and women fighting the horror of war and over 141 million books were distributed to soldiers.
Manning does a wonderful job in portraying a possibly boring subject into a real page turner and I even found several books to include on my never ending reading list.
I'm also reading a book relevant to WW1, in my case War Memorial by Clive Aslet. It's a book that takes the ubiquitous war memorials that litter the countryside and are barely seen and looks at the names that made it onto the memorial of a single village. He then look at who they were, what their link with the village was, their life before the war, their service during it and their death. It personalises the names that are otherwise just names.
My only slight annoyance is the way the author is, at times, putting feelings into these stranger's heads. Otherwise it's a sobering way of treating the vast scope of conflict.
This is without ever mentioning Trump's name; it's not about him at all, and it was written at a time when our present situation was still outside the scope of imagination of ordinary Americans. It's about Putin and what he was doing--and it's terrifyingly relevant, including how in the 1990s he was or may have been the engine behind KGB deals with Western businessmen and real estate developers that allowed him to launder vast sums of money looted from the collapsing USSR and use it for the personal enrichment of himself and his tiny core of oligarchs.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Edited by Pamela Smith Hill
This is the annotated version of Laura Wilder's autobiography. I was excited to read it and I love it when there is extra material to flesh out a book but this book just dragged for me. The annotations were excessive, pulled you away from the story and were sometimes much longer than the actual written selection. I do think this book is historically valuable and if you are Wilder fanatic or scholar, you will probably love it but for the average reader you might just want to skip it.